A week ago it was twelve months since I ran away. After a particularly awful confrontation while still in the house with the Ex, I ran to a friends place to crash for the night. I happened to be out with her on the anniversary of that day, and it was nice to be able to thank her for being such a great friend, and we both thought about how far we'd come in 12 months. Thanks again Nej. You'll never know how much it meant to have a safe, warm place to go and be greeted with open arms.
The following day was the anniversary of Peter and I meeting up and starting to figure 'us' out. We planned to spend the night in town, like we had 12 months ago. I had been so excited, and yet on the tram into the city my bottom lip trembled. Soon after checking in, I was crying. When I think back to where I was last year, and how traumatic it was, it overwhelms me. Sometimes I can focus on where I am now, and the hard road and all I've learnt about myself along the way. And sometimes I have a flash back to being in that painful moment and I crumble all over again. Not for long, but just perhaps letting go of the hurt I had to hold on to, to get through each day. Control it. Stay focused. Suppress it. But now I am in a happier place, the safety valve has popped and with each sob, I am letting go.
On the weekend the house I had with my Ex was up for auction. He asked if I could come and help him clean, and I couldn't really say no. He has been behaving and we were trying to calmly negotiate our way towards a settlement. So I went along. It was an incredibly weird experience - being in a house that was my home, and feeling like a visitor. It had been 10 months since I moved out. Unfortunately, also like old times, the Ex decided to drag up all the crap we've been over thousands of times. It distresses me, as he can still only point the finger of blame at me. What this highlights is his inability for self reflection, to see this from both sides, and his complete lack of personal responsibility. When saying we ended up speaking through lawyers because he had threatened me, he responded saying he was hurt and so was completely justified in saying what he had...and that he would never apologise for it.
Again, this made me think of what a better place I am in now. I had wondered how I would feel about the house, but apart from missing a few certain aspects of it, I can let it go. Easily. It is not my home. I don't belong there anymore...AT ALL. The good news is that it sold, and we got an OK price for it. The next step is to figure out a financial settlement between the Ex and I. Many people have said I must be thrilled that it's all over. And in truth, it feels like another step towards the finishing line. Sure, it's a freaking HUGE step, but I'm not free of the bear trap around my ankle yet. I've just managed to drag it along the road a bit further.
With each step, I feel more assured about who I am. And even if my bottom lip trembles, or I shed a tear after a stressful time, I weirdly feel stronger afterwards. I was just looking up the Friedrich Nietzsche quote 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger' and found this other corker from him 'A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love'. Funny, and true. And sometimes those spectacles need not only to be focussed on others, but on ourselves. We can only learn from our mistakes if we take the care to look for them. And blaming the world and everyone else for things that go wrong keeps you firmly rooted in the same spot. We are all human, and we all play a part in our own future. And I can take it on the chin, think about it, learn from it (hopefully!) and take another big step forward.